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Published: Sunday, 12/21/2008

Owens Corning exec traveled globe for firm

Severn Joyce, 81, who traveled the world as an Owens Corning vice president in search of the raw materials used to make Fiberglas, died Thursday in Swan Creek Retirement Village.

The family did not report a cause of death. He was in ill health recently, his son, Lanny, said.

Mr. Joyce, formerly of Perrysburg, retired in the mid-1980s as vice president of the purchases and transportation division of what was then Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., which hired him in 1949.

His duties were wide-ranging, his son said, because he oversaw the firm's purchasing for all its plants worldwide of what went into making Fiberglas. He traveled to Europe, South Asia, and other places that supplied the materials, including specialty metals required to draw glass into fibers.

His transportation duties put him in charge of moving the company's products around the world.

The company's glass furnaces consumed large amounts of natural gas. When that fuel became hard to get during the energy crisis of the early 1970s, he and other executives started a strategy of exploring for their own source of natural gas.

Mr. Joyce was a graduate of Cornell University, where he majored in industrial engineering.

"He liked business and technology, and that was at that time a new thing, to put them together," his son said.

Owens Corning was founded 11 years before he started as a salesman working for the firm in New York City. He came to Toledo in about 1955. "Clearly there was a wide variety and a combination of technical and business interests he was able to use in the job," his son said. "What he started with in college turned out to be very useful in developing his career. He could talk technically comfortably to the product people as they figured out how to use this new thing called Fiberglas, either to reinforce plastics in the automobile industry or as a heat barrier in the appliance industry and in buildings."

After retiring, he served a short time as an assistant vice president of the Medical College of Ohio and coordinator and chief executive officer of the Northwest Ohio Health Technology Center.

Mr. Joyce made time to support charitable and community service groups and the arts, often as a board member. He was an honorary trustee of the Toledo Museum of Art and a trustee of the Toledo Symphony. He was a founding member of Hospice of Northwest Ohio and of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Perrysburg.

He was a life trustee and a past president of the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Toledo.

"He just loved the organization," his son said. "It really hit his heart, and he stayed with it."

A native of Baltimore, Mr. Joyce was a Navy veteran, serving in the Caribbean and Mediterranean at the end of World War II.

Surviving are his wife, Catharine, whom he married May 16, 1953; daughters, Trina and Lisa Joyce; son, Lanny Joyce; brother, Brewer Joyce, and four grandchildren.

The family will receive friends from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow in the Coyle Funeral Home. Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday in St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, Perrysburg.

The family suggests tributes to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Toledo or a charity of the donor's choice.



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